View Full Version : Screamworks Auction

Rich Hanf
02-15-2007, 10:01 AM
Well, as we used to say in the funeral business...It's all over but the cryin"

The Screamworks auction in Atlanta happened yesterday and I'm sure those poor guys wish it hadn't. The total gross for 5 shows amounted to
approx $21,000!!! That's it.

The real tragedy here is like this. These poor bastards bought into what in my opinion is the biggest lie in the business, and that is that Leonard Pickel is the Godfather of this business. Written all over the auction was that this ill fated event was besigned by the Designer of Madison Scare Garden...Leonard Pickel. Of course don't ever talk to Lynton Harris about this as he has personally told me that hiring LP was the biggest mistake he ever made...that not withstanding.

The Screamworks show was Leonard at his best...and it included all the scares Pickel is known for.....the vacume cleaner scare, fridge scare, the chains on the floor scare (not too dangerous), the handprints on the walls scare...in fact, if this show was not Leonards PERSONAL show, it was designed almost exactly like it. This by the way he calls the Premiere Traveling Attraction in the country today.
Apparently Leonard is to haunting what Caroll Shelby is to sports cars. If Shelbys personal Cobra just pulled down $5 million at auction, could Leonards shows be far behind? That was the question leading up to yesterday. Today that question was answered.

The total for 5 Leonard Pickel Shows came to $21,000!!!
Now, back out approx $5000 for a black hole he had nothing to do with and you are left with $16,000 divided by thew 4 remaining shows equals a stagghering $4000 per Leonard Pickel Show!!! This is what the industry thinks a used Pickel Show is worth. Boys and Ghouls...when will this industry learn...there are none so blind as those that will not see.

My heart goes out to the owners of Screamworks who believed Leonard to be something special, invested their lifes savings in these lame shows (just my opinion) , quit their jobs...and lost approx $250,000...and now get back $21,000 before expenses.

At what point are the consultants of shows like this held responsible?

Like they say...how do you make a small fortune in haunting? Start with a large one!!!

Ken Spriggs
02-15-2007, 10:51 AM
Ok look I am not defending ANYONE.....and I mean ANYONE

BUT and it is a big BUT

If you think you can BUY an attraction and plop it down anywhere and make it work you are wrong!
I would think if someone is going to spend as much as they did, they would have done the research themselves and made a logical decision on what person they would hire to be a consultant.

NOW if they were to check the references and checked the income of other shows produced by the said consultant and found that there is a history of BS or losing that went on....they would have bailed on the deal.

Yes it is a sad story for someone to lose their ass on a haunt...someone thought they could just open up and the millions would pour in the door....
Maybe someone told them that....maybe not
Maybe they thought they could ride the coat tails of Netherworld and hope the lines were to big and the customers would look for another haunt to visit
I don't know what transpired....most on this board don't know what happened.



Let me go out on a limb and say 2 things I know for sure:

1 Wipp will no longer do business with SPOOKY whatever
2 These guys will never do business with Leonard

oh 3 the damn lumber the stuff was built with was worth more than they got!!!

Mr Nightmarez
02-15-2007, 11:01 AM
The two guys that did this were not Haunters, but saw potential to make money. They lost -
Play the stock market, you win or you lose...

I hate they had it tough and it did not work out, but who on here has ever planned for one year? Sure you plan for the year, but it is a long term process that takes time to build a rapport and customers.

I don't care what transpired...

I came, bid and actually wish I would have bid more... My regrets watching the two Haunts I actually WON for $11,000 SLIDE FROM MY GRASP when they did a Complete Bid Offer... :evil: But Se La Vie! Or something like that!

02-15-2007, 11:40 AM

I don't disagree with you, this isn't a get rich quick scheme. I would also imagine, they did some homework, found www.leonardpickel.com and saw he was the Godfather of the industry, the king of sting, the best, the only, the creator of the wheel and probably figured they found the person who could help them as you put it... get rich quick.

I talked these guys, I think they actually liked Halloween and haunted houses, and wanted to open their own business. They found as many do that running a haunted house, isn't easy as it sound. But when you compound that with hiring a guy who know nothing, his haunts might as well have been built in 1970, a guy who thinks his way is the only way to do it... I mean Ken I saw these haunted house, they had NO PROPS! It was walls painted black, with a vacume cleaner scare, beer in the fridge, chains on the floor which would have killed a person, it was just horrible.

If you really want to know what it looked like just pick up his books from 20 years ago, and you know. Its really that simple. Leonard takes people's money, and he offers advice that does not work. In this case he sold them all their haunts, all their advice and we see the results.

Ken, what you do is great, you have passion for your haunt, you've learned over the years. You guys tell me ... Hey Larry you haven't seen in like 5 years, its a lot different c'mon on out. With Leonard he never changes a thing all the way back to his charity haunt days.

Leonards trail of failures is so long I can't understand why or how people don't know this... but sometimes people slip through the cracks like these guys. I know you don't like me saying these things, but I feel like I need to protect people from flying into fly paper. It seems to happen a lot doesn't it?

I talked to these guys, wow they were so depressed, so upset, they had no job, no money, no future... it was sad.

I never want a person to end up like this... I hope this serves as just one more example, and validates what is said about our industry creator.


02-15-2007, 11:58 AM

02-15-2007, 11:59 AM
If and when I EVER have the money to open a haunt... I'm buying from Larry for damn sure! -Tyler

Ken Spriggs
02-15-2007, 01:17 PM
This is not me saying stop picking on Leonard

I would be as broke as these guys if I hired a gun from the industry.
We did what we know how to do....and we researched it every bit of the way. To spend any amount of money on a haunted house and think you can make more back after 1 year is crazy. It MIGHT happen but don't expect it to happen.

Mr Nightmarez
02-15-2007, 01:30 PM
:shock: The only reason I would buy a canned haunt would be because it was CHEAP! :shock:

2 of the haunts actually had some content. But the other 3 were not much to write home about. I spent and hour looking and trying to figure out there worth.

The Pit The walls were black and non nondescript, but nothing much to work with other than the entry.. Selling it on the market $8-10k

Revolutionz - The vortex was all that was there. $3,500 and it was a short one. Someone claimed it was 20' but it was not. 16' at best.
On the market someone might get $8-9k

The Slammer - Great concept. No props. $10-12k. Great Facade.

Shipwreck - My favorite I would have went to $7,000 or $8k. The facades on the inner area were nice and several props and gags could be re-used. My favorite of the lot. It could probably sold on a market scale of $15-17k

The House (Dang if I can remember the name) - Had potential. but I did not like it. It could have sold for over $15,000 easy w/ all that was inside, but alas no one was there to give that for it.

If someone paid $250,000 for these haunts, it is sad.

For someone starting out this would have been a decent deal at $60k. But as it turns out it was a very good deal for the guy paying $23,500! :twisted:

02-15-2007, 01:49 PM
I think you're doing your research when you hire a consultant...THIS IS NOT ME PICKING ON HIM BUT...

When you visit his webiste he says this the know it all, he's the godfather, he says other aspire to be like him, he publishes a magazine, he runs his own tradeshow. Blah, blah...

Call me stupid but if I was opening a haunt, and knew nothing, and did some research found his magazine, saw the gazzilion ads about how great he is in the magazine, or read anything off his website I would probably have to believe he's the master!

Now I agree with you, you can't stop there, thats like visiting only one car dealership. So yes I here what you're saying and agree with you. But dont' fool yourself, anyone who might stumble on the Pickel, and didn't know any better would have good reason to believe he's truely an expert.

I've heard some of his closest friends tell me they wouldn't ever hire him for consulting. They know better...but the first time guy doesn't.

If Pickel knows what he's doing, I promise you those guy wouldn't have ended up as bad as they did first year or not. I went there at IAAPA, and I hate to say but just about everything was wrong. A real consultant, someone who visited that site, spent time with these guys, would have picked up on these mistakes and helped them.

I'm not bragging but the first year I opened Darkness I made every penny back and a 50k profit to boot! The start up costs where about $170,000.00 and then we had operation costs, all told it might have been in the $300,000 plus area. We made all of that money back and then some first year.

That isn't always the case I understand but to lose $250,000.00, to be suckered into buying those dumps of haunts for an absurd amount of money, was the first mistake that led to their doom.

At the end of the day, we can see just what one of these haunts are worth... just about nothing! Less than the plywood costs...thats sad!

Ken, if you had an auction for your haunt what would you get 100, 200, 300k? You could actually have a real auction because your haunt has props...this haunt had NONE! Pickel believes in the low gore, high starte, whatever in the hell that means. I guess that guy has never played a video game, or seen a cool movie, you gotta have cool props and scenes. Oh well.


02-15-2007, 01:57 PM

02-15-2007, 02:18 PM
Even he's embarrassed of the work he did... LOL

Here's the funny part, if you go to Screamworks website it says from the creator of Madison Scare Garden. They promoted him as the designer, although I would hardly say he created MSG. But that was another MAJOR flop, and Lynton got up in front of the industry, and said "I WAS SOLD PILES OF WOOD". I'll never forget that.


02-15-2007, 02:21 PM
Ahhh... I love Lynton! He did an amazing job in 2000 at Kings Island Fearfest; Great Work. -Tyler

Ken Spriggs
02-15-2007, 02:41 PM
Larry by the looks of things at these auctions lately.....we would all be lucky to cover the costs to make the stuff!

Skull Kingdom

One thing I could never figure out????
How can anyone walk into a new area/town (insultant or not) and say what is good and what is bad?
OK location...sometimes you are stuck...we were in a strip mall for 3 years
BUT can I say I will move the haunt to another strip mall in ......St Louis?
NO WAY!!! I would have no clue if it is going to work or not....it is all a gamble and when you gamble everything you have, it is bound to smack you right in the ass(I wonder what that translated to).

Gee and Transworld is going to Vegas for us to lose more than just a haunted house!!!!! :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

Greg Chrise
02-15-2007, 05:48 PM
Unfortunately there are a few on the Resume that are not mentioned.

In today's cost of Lumber a grand signature elm street unit is 185 panels and could be built for $5555.00 All the wall painting would certainly take some time if it is one of those. But, then you factor in that these things are really circa 1993 and have made "something" back as far as income goes over all of the years I think that means they are 13 years old and kind of already paid for themselves.

It's a turn key no time invested piece of magic that makes people spend big bucks. Those that have no big bucks can afford to make no mistakes and do lots of it on their own with only sweat equity over years.

Even an elm street unit would need lots of actors and lots of props to be something. And the gypsy show of coming into towns unheard of before and driving out in a ferarri never existed.

You can't give some guy in Nigeria your bank account number either.

No one has mentioned how many customers they were able to get or why it failed. Was there no advertising or was it just word of mouth that the event sucked? I find that this $2 per customer formula for advertising is not right as well. Or that if it is suggested that you just spend $25,000 on advertising it just guarentees that $10,000 is made which is usually what the contract is signed for to bring a unit and set it up. Rarely does or has anyone out right bought these units when they can be "leased" as an experiment.

Knowing this I would imagine at some point these guys got so excited and plain out paid 10 times what the things cost and went it alone with out any good advice what so ever. On Leonard's board he actually asked Ben how he liked having another attraction in his back yard. This makes me think he got cut out at the point of the sale. Or he's completely insane and has some really big gonads.

There's also this thing about setting up anywhere in the south. Can you say bible belt?

So many fail because of a non stop stream of disinformation. There hasn't been any quality control on who is the speaker at a seminar at Transworld, rather it has been who has something to say for no compensation and can we get that many speakers. When the industry starts paying for content they might get some.

The very thing that you guys get excited about (Transworld) is a great place to get all the noobies in one place and ask them how much money they have. It's a double edge sword.

If you have somehow made lots of money in some other business it would be pretty easy to think you could make so much more with a haunted attraction. You would think it is a given. Like most "industries" there seems to be more money in the information and consulting angles than actually opening a loser haunt. Obviously everyone postures themselves to make it look like they have something that you need and have gotten this by years of success.

In anything only 2 in 100 actually make a go of it. Every year another 200 come to Transworld and maybe 4 make it past year 3.

If it is really as you guys say there is criminal activity involved and if there is no recourse it must be some slickly drafted contract I would like to know about. I would love to be in the business of building $5,000 haunts and selling them for $50,000. That would work.

Unfortunately you have to have the posture to say you can excel in this if you are properly informed if you are going to sell even the smallest thing as a video. Everyone would love to think they can run a built up attraction for years and sell it for as much or more than they invested in it even thought they made money from customers over the years operating it. These things just are not talked about.

I've watched years of gypsy wagons being theived from. Gypsy wagons hidden from creditors. Customers being herded like cattle in gypsy rip off shows never to return. There seem to have been a lot of fires, now a lot of auctions. Lots of long time brutal fist a cuffs in the history here. It took me a real long time getting over the issue that gay werewolves even existing. What the F was I getting myself into and associating with? All of these terrible things are actually some kind of desperation that no one wants to acknowledge. All of these things are scarier and more risky than anything you find inside of the haunted house.

So what do you do about it?

Jim Warfield
02-15-2007, 07:22 PM
And it all began with P.T. Barnum.
"Seasonal?" Well, whenever the circus pulled into a town it was "Circus Season!" Down the road tommorow.
He sent guys hanging posters out unheard of miles in every direction from where his tents were due to be set up and even in those times of poor roads and no cars, they came!
He was a showman! (He made lots of money)
Did he ever give a seminar?
He was also leading the way for the later Rock promoters by paying unheard of sums for singing talent and touring her, Jenny Lind!
Study P.T. He was light-years ahead of his time.

Greg Chrise
02-15-2007, 07:33 PM
Nope, never gave a seminar. He was like doin it man!

Ben Franklin and all the founding fathers were all so busy building the foundations of our great country and spreading syphillus. Nope, never gave a seminar.

Is this a Red Buttons routine?

02-15-2007, 09:34 PM

Two things..

One Auction: These auctions are doing unreal, when you're doing an auction one item at a time. Whenever you do these one price for everything auctions the get very little money. If you had an auction you could count on something between $180k to $250k for sure.

Every auction like this has done great: An auction in Buffalo raped in $200 plus, Ohio Auction last year nearly $300k, Spookyworld over $250k, the list goes on and on. You just can't do these one for everything...kiss of death.

Two Insultant: I agree with again, but only to a certain degree. You see you've been doing this for a long time, even if you moved to Alaska you still know what you're doing. Do you know the local culture, traditions, trends and things like that...NO. Its like going in you have a complete model, you have every piece but you're missing the glue. If you have the glue but not the model what good does the glue good for? Sniffing! LOL

The most important thing is the model itself, you know how to do it, what to do, and all the pieces you'll need to make a successful haunt. True, you'll have to learn some of the ins and outs of this new market but whenever an insultant is helping someone, the person they're helping should already know the local area. Its the consultant/insultant that should be helping the new business person make the right choices.

Whenever I help someone, I tell them right up front, I can only tell you what I would do, but you need to do what you think is best. My job is to load them up with information, help them learn quicker, or get over some hump. I know EXACTLY what you're talking about, and I agree!

Still a good consultant who knows the ins and outs can help more than you can imagine. Even a haunt like yourself isn't beyond hiring someone to help you, if you're open minded to learning a new way, new idea's and pushed in some new directions it could pay for itself the first day you open.

I would hire a consultant in a second, if I thought that person could help me advance my business.


02-16-2007, 01:04 PM
Did anyone see this?


BEWARE: “Godfather of the Haunted Attraction Industry” Is Ready to Make Atlantans Scream

Atlanta, Georgia – FALL 2006 – Atlanta haunted house lovers welcome one of the creators of New York City’s famed Madison Scare Garden with the creation of the all-new ScreamWorks Atlanta, four bone-chilling, blood-curdling haunted houses under one gigantic roof. From September 28th – October 31st ScreamWorks Atlanta will feature four huge haunted houses professionally-designed by renown designer Leonard Pickel, a giant vertigo-inducing spinning tunnel, Halloween props and souvenirs, concessions and much more!

The four individual haunted houses include: (1) DEAD END MANOR, a skin-crawlingly creepy Victorian mansion; (2) THE PIT, a completely terrifying, pitch-dark experience; (3) THE SLAMMER: a confounding chain link maze; and (4) SHIPWRECK: a ghastly pirate-themed haunt. A cast of nearly 100 actors will ensure that no one leaves without a fright.

Expert haunted house designer Leonard Pickel, known as the “Godfather of the Haunted Attraction Industry,” brings his mastery of the haunted attractions industry to the Atlanta area for the very first time. Featuring the best effects of his 30-year career (and lots of brand new scares, too) ScreamWorks Atlanta is a truly one-of-a-kind Halloween event that is guaranteed to excite, thrill, and, of course, scare the pants off all patrons.

TICKETS: Tickets are $13 for one individual haunt and $25 for a Combo Pass to all four haunts (a major savings of $27!). VIP Tickets are also available for $35 which will allow guests to jump to the front of all lines. Visit www.ScreamWorksAtlanta.com for special money-saving offers and to buy tickets in advance to avoid box office lines.

SCHEDULE: ScreamWorks Atlanta runs from Sept 28 Oct 31. Nightly schedules vary, visit www.ScreamWorksAtlanta.com for details.

LOCATION: ScreamWorks Atlanta is located in Chamblee Plaza at 5528 Peachtree Industrial Boulevard, one mile south of the I-285 Perimeter, directly across from Curry Honda. Parking is FREE.

AGES: ScreamWorks Atlanta is NOT recommended for anyone under age 13. Children under 13 must be accompanied by an adult.

ScreamWorks Atlanta is produced by 2scareU, LLC, whose founders – Jeff Matisoff, Josh Pultz and Richard Robertson – are live entertainment professionals based in New York City.

02-16-2007, 01:45 PM
So, I don't understand. This was their 1st year and they threw in the towel after 1 year? What happened? I mean, most people kind of understand that you will lose money the 1st year and if you are lucky START to make money in 3....

Rich Hanf
02-16-2007, 02:08 PM

I guess that this answers any questions regarding "The Godfathers" involvement with this show. I don't understand how haunters can stand by and make excuse after excuse for this guy. I think some of you might just be embarrassed to have been suckered in by his hype. That's my only explanation. When will haunters stand up and say no more?
At some point there has to be a place where people who don't know any better can go and get more than one side of the story. Maybe an IAHA sponsored site...all I know is that no client of mine ever lost money, ever quit his job, ever went broke. Being entrusted with someones financial future is a humbling and awsome responsibility. It cannot be taken lightly and personally I feel a moral responsibility to make sure a clients event comes off as well as if it were my own.....because it is. You are what your record says you are. I would not be able to look at myself in the mirror if a client of mine lost 1/4 $million.
Just my opinion Rich

Jim Warfield
02-16-2007, 03:41 PM
It is tough being a successful advisor when the clients don't follow all of your advice.
Do the people that you have advised always follow all of your advice, Rich.?
Dealing with people in general is very frustrating unless they are all wearing the same uniform and are already marching in lock-step.
(Yes, I know some things but am not bothering going into details)

Greg Chrise
02-16-2007, 04:15 PM
As I wrote a responce before I had no intention of making any excuse for anyone or making liablist statements as well for a subject I was not involved in or know little about. It just doesn't stand to reason to me. The most that has ever been involved in a deal with Leonard has been a $10,000 per attraction flat payment and it has been this way for 30 years. Yes even at that rate many people ended up losing but this leads me to believe that this same model doesn't work for $250,000 and so the Scream works partnership must have called the shots.

I'm not in league with anyone as what happens out in the haunted world somehow has absolutley no effect on my little event either good or bad. In fact it may be a good thing none of my clients think any of these forums is worth a crap to them.

If you are going to bash anyone go all the way and make the statements where there are no holes in it. Designed by in an intresting tag line that the haunt owners may have thought sounded pretty good. Apparently they didn't know the history of Madison Scare Garden as well. Why didn't they know. We all did because year two alot of you went in and tried to make something of it.

Was Leonard there managing the event? Was he there training the actors? was he in charge of the marketing? Or did he just get a great price on attractions no one has actually wanted to pay top dollar for for more than 10 years.

Inquiring minds want to know.

I will say this. Down in the trenches where people with limited resources for Some reason Leonard is like Kevin Bacon, he is at every grass roots gathering all over the country. He is giving his advice as he sees it while obviously you guys have been focusing on your personal attractions and in a different league spending $60,000 to $100,000 per year and more for the next best thing.

I understand the two things do not lend from one to another. This is like there is an old man right now on Utube proclaiming there is this thing called the internet. It was not filmed in 1995. So now many of you are the IAHA and in a position to communicate to the whole industry and all that has happend is an internal forum has been developed and a great PR campaign Which frankly makes 98 % of the other haunts not participating in the spooky technological arms race look like low lifes.

No one told me how to become a Netherworld. They did tell me how to have a triangular grid plywood habitrail and at some point I had to leave some of the advice in the dust and create my own way of doing things that took that concept and made it work ala lots of actors and lots of props, no refrigerators and no vacuum cleaners. No goofy painting on the walls and so on.

I'm sure to Leonard it is all about the one on one asking for a $25 magazine subscription, he will continue to be in every trench. Now he promotes Hauntcon in a similar fashion and I would imagine this sale of these many attractions to the Scream work Group represented his whole inventory being dumped.

All I can offer is who cares about Pickle eating when you have the resources to do better. To communicate to the industry what to strive for and become successful. As an observer, all I'm seeing is the young and more successful are pretty much bashing most of the people that were the founders of the IAHA. (ei Bob's event sucks and is stupidly concieved and anything Leonard touches) Well, now you have a stake in it (IAHA), do it.

When the haunt industry is informed after the fact that all haunts these days are about high end props and finds out about it from Utube and a CBS report and not from the industry they check in with every day it is kind of a shock. Recently I quoted some of philosophy from these news spots for conversation on here and made people sick and pissed off and go away for a few days and think I'm some kind of prick.

And it isn't all about the IAHA or wether it can or does work. Leonard does a much better job of being everywhere in person no matter how lacking his information is. His magazine does send out resubscription forms, it is available on Amazon.com or seasonally in Barnes and Nobles. In comparison Hauntworld does not send out resubscription notices. Again I bought a batch of videos that supposedly included a subscription and never got the last magazine and probably won't get this new one. Sure I could call Larry and get one magazine but there is never a follow up, who cares. So I'm resigned to either buy back issues or none at all. Not only for me but, why would I offer excellent content to anything that is not readily accessible to me and probably to man others?

In comparison Leonard is doing a much better job of being there. If you cannot develop the posture to do better it is only a name calling match with no end in sight.

I mean I have a number and if I really wanted to know I could call Leonard and I'm sure he would tell me what happened or what I wanted to hear and maybe he feels bad about it too.

The whole myth that you could build an attraction run it a year and then sell it for a great price (so it isn't a loss) has been propogated by everyone at the top of this feild that made turn key attractions. Everyone that sold attractions used this angle. Rather there is a bigger picture and it is that the economy has changed and no one is walking around with a whole lot of money at their disposal these days Using an auction system to save the day is a bad choice.

Leonards attraction was available for sale yet operated somewhere every year, not doing so well. It was origionally for sale for $75,000 and that right buyer never came along. Then it was $60,000, then $50,000 and at some point the right buyer came along. Someone that wanted it now that was as well told by others, that you had to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to have a good attractions. No one has told how to spend that money wisely or with any particular caution.

I have been "observing" all of this as objectively as possible for 8 years now. I think everyone is so involved in focusing on what is happening wrong that there is no real vision for the furure that will make any difference. You can't develop million dollar haunts and be the be all to the community. It's maybe a time management impossibility.

While you guys think these forums have the attention of everyone, Leonard is packing up his little card table in to his mini van and consignment CD's and driving across the country to someone elses mini gathering with a hand full of magazines. How are you going to compete with that?

You can't as well inform the US public about the state of haunted attractions and have someone not with the program informing the haunt community. Some how you are going to have to get everyone on the same page and not assume they are all brilliant enough to read between the lines. The lowly haunters are more likely to just forget all this noise and rub latex on something to better occupy their time. That's what's really happening.

I have on the same token had my office people warning me that Leonard is a full of himself evil piece of crap that does not pay and is a weasel. I see a guy doing what he can with what ever limitations and doing the best he can. I can relate to him as I'm in the same boat. It doesn't mean I love him and have been swooned to love everything he has to say. In fact alot of what everyone does is in rebuttle to his methods, a responce to what has been convieniently ommitted. But these are his opinions. You would think after 30 years they might have some merit and general value. I have on numerous occasions shook his hand in person even after having dissapointing business dealings. He got ripped off too from his customer and I only got paid because I was going to come get anything of value like a repo man.

I could bitch about how this or that situation or that sucked. Rich, I introduced myself to you in Transworld at the bar in 2003. I was no one and you were very personable. Larry knew my name from the forums and when I approached him freaking looked away. Every video purchase or magazine subscription has been pay now get it 90 days from now and wondering if it will ever come and sometimes having to follow up for service. My same office people tell me not to send any more money to these people then I secretly send more money to be dissapointed again.

We are in a time of potential digital stuff where the old guy methods of yellow legal pads and public speaking with time honored ear hair are becoming a thing of the past. Every kind of business all over the world are finding out the old dudes ways were blowing smoke up people's behinds and getting away with it. That doesn't fly anymore. The only thing that does still fly is hard work and adaptation.

It used to be people would over look how much ear hair someone had and try to relate to what they had to say. I think everyone needs to work on their personalities a bit, including myself. Can you build upon and replace the past or will it continue to be every man for himself. When it continues to be every man for himself people get ripped off. Things when you pull away the magic curtain are kind of sad at all levels.

02-16-2007, 05:45 PM
ANYONE who is not offended by calling yourself 'The Godfather' of an entire industry should be. I think the PRESS RELEASE confirms that this guy was the main gun. The press release states he's bringing his latest scares to the table, and his 30 years of expeience.

It brags about Madison Scare Garden, which was ANOTHER DISASTER! Lynton Harris told the WHOLE industry at a luncheon that he was SOLD PILES OF WOOD!

If you ask me Screamworks was just that...PILES OF WOOD!

It was terrible! The Pirate one was the best, and they claimed they did that one mostly themselves.

The press release posted here should be a wake up call...you've got a guy who wants others to believe he's our GODFATHER! He wants to be the spokeman for our industry, and he sells himself as the best we have to offer, the leader, the creator the Godfather.

What he is in my opinion is a disgrace!

I would like to know who refers to this guy as the Godfather other than himself? Who?

Does anyone really think he's a leader? Does anyone really think he knows how to design and operate a successful haunted house? Would anyone armed with the correct trackrecord of this guy hire him? Would anyone? I know some don't understand, but listen to me, this guy loves to be negative, he can't and shouldn't be a spokeman for our industry, nor should be be allowed to run around and say he's the godfather of anything.

I hope EVERYONE who sees this guy at TW walks right up to him and says "I'm offended that you'd refer to yourself as the Godfather or our industry, its arrogant, and disrespectful to everyone in this industry'.

This guys loves calling for boycots when he's not a speaker, or whatever, we should call for a boycott of his magazine until he comes correct with this whole disrespecting an entire industry.

No one loves themself or thinks more about themselves as one man... Leonard Pickel. If there is evidence to prove otherwise I'd love to see it.

Lastly, if there was ever any doubt in your mind as to who was the consultant on this Screamworks project, I guess this press release puts a doubt to that one.

Do not kid yourself, Leonard was the man behind that project...the press release states as much. What else can be said...

When you're the Godfather, and your haunts selll for less than what the wood cost, thats saying something STRONG!

Wouldn't ya say?


Jim Warfield
02-16-2007, 06:42 PM
Just by chance, might the guys recently burnt by poor auctions be some of the same ones buying and paying way too much for stuff at an auction..3? years ago?
It only takes one or two people with the money to show up or to not show up to make or break any auction.
How far does an auction go towards really establishing value?
Our local government says "No", a couple bought an old , fixer-up house at auction, yet the county tax people would not hear of the assessed value of that property being lowered. At least ten people were bidding, I personally tend to think such a scenario does establish value , versus some slick relator suckering someone with a song and dance, usually someone from 100 miles away from here and elderly.
"Yes, in the Chicago burbs this would be a $350,ooo house but you can get it for a "steal" here in this small town for only $110,ooo!!
(But last year it sold for $60,ooo and two years before that for $45,ooo?)

Greg Chrise
02-16-2007, 10:33 PM
Well, it does say BEWARE,

02-16-2007, 10:38 PM
Does anyone else find it ironic that the above attractions are called: Dead End Manor, The PIT, Shipwreck.... WOW! Just thought I'd point that out. Heeheee. :twisted: -Tyler

Jim Warfield
02-16-2007, 11:25 PM
Would "Miss Sally Sunshine's Sandbox"
sound better?
(Such a name could be a effective misnomer, setting the customers up for an unexpected thrill, if you could convince them to buy the ticket first, that is......)
I used to have "The Nasil Passage" here, people were told to carefully pick their way through it!
"Do the Booga-loo!"

02-17-2007, 05:30 PM
Does anyone else find it ironic that the above attractions are called: Dead End Manor, The PIT, Shipwreck.... WOW! Just thought I'd point that out. Heeheee. :twisted: -Tyler
Wicked Sweet :twisted:

Lynton V Harris
02-17-2007, 06:43 PM
We rarely choose to post on these boards, however we do remain active readers of interest.
Larry had bought the Screamworks situation to my attention back in October, and as such, I immediately contacted them to cease using 'from the Creator of Madison SCARE Garden', and to ascertain who was promoting themselves as such.
With regard to Leonard Pickel, or any of our 'vendors' back then, it was made very clear, legally, of the correct titleage to use...I think it was something like 'Official Vendor'.
I also emailed Norton's Auctions and received no response, and as such, if we prove that we have lost any business to to this defamortory association to this project, and the sale of such, we will seek legal action for damages.
We are already aware of potential client (from IAAPA) that thought they would go to that auction and obtain 'our work' cheap.
We had absolutely nothing wahtsoever to do with SCREAMWORKS and as the Creator of Madison SCARE Garden, I am personally and proffessionally offended at this notion.
Since Madison SCARE Garden we have gone on to create world class haunted attractions worldwide, and our list of credits past and present are second to none.
I want to thank Larry and Rich Hanf for pointing out that this in fact was not our project...they both know how I felt after the first year of Madison SCARE Garden.

The only other thing is to advise Larry that Madison SCARE Garden was not a flop per se. Madison SCARE Garden was my first show in America, and my first 'haunt', and as such, I remain extremely proud of that audacious challenge today, regardless of how much money we lost. It was a fantastic creative success, with four years of growth in ticket sales & revenue, attendance, and sponsorship . It fuelled our reputation and success worldwide. It suffered from the Union environment in NYC period. Nothing else. Madison SCARE Garden was a great idea that worked, and the audience loved it. Now some ten years on, we have learnt how to deal with the union issues, and do not be surprised if you see that stadium/arena haunted show resurface on a world tour. Hell, we might even stop back in NYC!

For the past 8 years we have essentially built all our new attractions in-house, and have an incredible slate of exciting projects in 2007.

Please check out our website.

Lynton V Harris
Chairman & CEO
The Sudden Impact! Entertainment Company
New York*Hollywood*Sydney*London
nightmares Dreamworld www.dreamworld.com.au
NIGHTMARES - Philadelphia www.nightmaresX.com
Universal Studios Monsters ALIVE! - Las Vegas
Madison SCARE Garden - New York
The FRIGHT House - Washington DC
The Mummy LIVE! - New York
The Mummy Returns LIVE! - Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia
The Scorpion King LIVE! - Hong Kong
The Van Helsing Experience LIVE! - New York, Philadelphia
Lara Croft:Tomb Raider LIVE! - Australia
Warwick Ghosts ALIVE! - Warwick Castle, UK
Serial Killers LIVE! - London
SCREAM! - Amsterdam
The Chamber of Horrors LIVE! - London, New York, Amsterdam, Las Vegas
Madame Tussauds Shanghai (May 2007)

Kevin Dells
02-18-2007, 10:18 AM
As replied on the main forums.

Unions are awful! They promise their people the world only to lay them off!!!! Pay your dues and big brother will watch over you and take care of you! BS!!!

As i have stated in other posts,i am non-union i have been for 22 years! I could go work for the union stair company but choose not too. My brother in law did go to the union shop because they offered him the union wage that so many non union company's won't offer their people.

So he makes 5 bucks more an hour than i do, but what they didn't tell him is he supply's his own vehicle, he has to keep up the maintenence on it, he has to use all his tools and replace them out of his pocket when they break, he has to pay them his dues and they better be on time!
He gets no paid vacations or paid holiday pay!

I had two days off this year because of slow down, they paid me to sit at home out of the kindness of their hearts. My brother has been off since two weeks before christmas without pay(Merry Christmas kids heres your sock monkey's mommy made you!).

All his extra expenses, Cell phone, screws, nails, glue, saw blades he has to buy from his wallet.

My company gives me a new van every year with satellite radio(sorry i had to plug XM radio,i love it!) Gas card, paid insurance, all the tools are the company's, mine sit happily in my garage where they should be :D ,

I get two weeks paid vacation( a full month starting next year), 7 personal days, and paid holidays.

Is union work that much better that they really have the right to post billboards that say insist on union carpenters and lead the consumer to believe that they truly are the best and others should be frowned upon.

Well the house i just finished putting a stair into last friday ran 1.5 million and was built by union framers. Talk about crooked walls! Badly out of square and plumb! The cabinet guys had to load three cabinets back up and take them back to his shop to rebuild them OUT of Square to fit the house correctly!
The pit i had to build my stair in was 3 and a half inches out of square but i cant just load my stair up and re build it i have to attach it to the house wether it's right or not! So when you look down this 60,000 dollar stair it heads to the left 3 and a half inches. Careful when stumbling upstairs after a night of drinking!

So if you do build that Dream House and your looking for optical illusions to freak your house guests at insist on union carpenters!

02-18-2007, 03:20 PM
I can see what your saying but this is the complete opposite where I am from. I work for the City Of Chicago for 6 weeks at a day camp and am in the union, the benefits are outrageous then not being in one. I made almost 3 dollars an hour more then non union employees and am even given a paid personal day off and I only work for 6 weeks! I just have to say that unions in the long run are much better

02-18-2007, 03:45 PM

I'm glad you cleared that up for everyone...good job. As to my comment about MSG, I was refering to your dealings with the before mentioned consultant. I was proud of the fact that I was able to come onto your team in MSG year two and help fix the problems created by the before mentioned.

I will say that I thought your event was pretty cool, I was talking with Ed a few weeks ago and saying... Remember that you guys had Chris Angel perform before he was known. Wow that was something.

I remember being there and scaring the hell out of Salt N Pepper, Knicks players and Bob Costas.

Fun, Fun!


02-18-2007, 03:48 PM
I can see what your saying but this is the complete opposite where I am from. I work for the City Of Chicago for 6 weeks at a day camp and am in the union, the benefits are outrageous then not being in one. I made almost 3 dollars an hour more then non union employees and am even given a paid personal day off and I only work for 6 weeks! I just have to say that unions in the long run are much better
For who you or the business, Unions do nothing but keep business from opening their doors or at least opening with the number of people they want open with. Prices are higher because of Unions, people say someone has to look out for the worker, ya you do. If you work hard it pays off, if you don't then no you will not get all the good things a job can offer.

Jim Warfield
02-18-2007, 06:51 PM
Kevin, those 3plus inches out of whack was the cat-run area. Just as the old homes in England have little openings in the thick walls for pussycats to come and go as they please in pursuit of Mr. Roe Dent.
Now you know! hahahaha!

Kevin Dells
02-18-2007, 09:12 PM
I know all about the little holes in walls for the kitties! My grandfather had a barn when i was a kid and i asked whats the hole for?

He said the mouser! I replied Mouser? Just then a Mr Tuxedo look a like came walking out with dinner in his mouth!

Haunter 3,
I hate to say this man as my profile dosen't show it,but i work in Chicago too.
That 1.5 million dollar house i mentioned is in St.Charles!

One thing i didn't go into was years back i was working down in Plainfeld right after the tornado took almost the whole city. Lots of people homless and needed their homes back,a place to live.

My partner and i were working away when the Rat Patrol came through the door all 15 of them! Yelling obsenitity's and threatening us! I had a very scraggly guy get within inches of my face and was screaming at me!"You know your stealing food from my kids mouths"! He then picked up a 200$ saw of mine and threw it out the front door and told me to F@cking follow it!
They then went to our van and threatened to bust out the windows if we didn't leave!

I called the cops and waited down the street for them to arrive and followed them around that subdivision until we found the Rat Patrol screaming at a hispanic guy doing some landscaping. We all pulled up and I pointed the guy out that thrashed my saw,he was arrested.

As the guy was still screaming at me at how my boss was screwing me over i yelled back even louder the facts.
When we signed that contract to supply all the stair and rails for that subdivision we had a clause stating that we were non-union and the builder agreed to it, almost all the trades at the time of signing were non union. Four years into the contract the builder started changing from Non union to union workers.
Lets just say this builder is a HUGE chicagoland builder as well as a congresman for Illinois, do you think the union may have had anything to do with them swaying them to become union? Probably!

We weren't about to give up our biggest account for the unions benefit, we finished the subdivision and have never built anything for them again, they now use carpenter built 2x12 stairs that are covered in carpet and squeek like hell!

My long time freind works for one of Illinois's largest carpenter contractors(I wont mention names, i can PM you if interested) And they don't give any benefits to them except a pension plan. So what i have a pension plan too!

Your dues, do you know where your dues go? Into building bigger fancier halls for the unemployed to hang out along with Rat patrol vehicles as well as a giant inflatable rat they blow up at subdivision entrances to scare people away... Im sure youv'e seen the giant rat,he's everywhere!

Sorry but the day the idiot threw my saw out the door, i was convinced i never wanted to be part of this! Lastly my kids ate steak that night!

damon carson
02-18-2007, 09:46 PM
You know the only one who calls Leonard the God Father is himself. And he manages to put this label on himself in every article, interview, and any other publicity he is able to muster up for himself. Im sorry but I've never really cared for the guy personaly. I went to a free seminar at Transworld and he came off as very arrogant and when I got the chance to ask him a question it was like I was being looked down on. Im not trying to compare him or his website or his magazine or anything else. Its just I feel that Im a good judge of character and to make a long story short I just think he is a bit full of himself to say the least. You know sometimes you can tell when a person is genuine and really there for the industry and I would have to say Leonard seems to be there for Leonard. And if he can pull the wool over anyones eyes into believing he is the Godfather of this industry he will! I think its all rather sad! Im no paid consultant but you know I've been doing haunts long enough to know who are the real trend setters and innovators moving the industry to a higher level. And Leonards not on the list. He doesnt even make it in the top ten. Even the first time I ever saw his Magazine and saw pictures of these haunts he built and had for sale I could tell the quality was no where close to what I had seen say in St. Louis or other big cities! Not to mention his picture is plastered usually front to back with his Disney Haunted house stories. And far as Hauntcon goes I dont really ever care to go cause he told me straight up he wont bring it to Missouri! Why I asked?! Because no haunt would open up for him in St. Louis or K.C. My words to him was whatever! But to no avail dont look for Hauntcon ever coming to my home state. But to be honest Im surprised this thing has gone as long as it has. Its sorry this guy cant let bigons be bigons ect ect. Oh and its too bad for these guys that lost everything with this poor haunt they were sold. It really is a disgrace to them and the industry!
Thats my opinion on all this.

Jim Warfield
02-18-2007, 09:52 PM
I had a teacher in Jr. College who told me when he was teaching in Sterling, ill, where the steel mill used to be, he couldn't make a case for anyone to be non-union, when he began teaching in Freeport, ill, nobody there would believe that unions served any good purpose at all, (alot of very independantly minded farmers in class)
The main "Union" seems to be the country of China now.
You want to hear some horror stories concerning work and life?
China has some , I begin to think of them when I see that label, "Made in China".
Imagine living in a 20 by 20 "Dorm" room with 15 to 20 other people 6 days a week inside the factory to keep your job? Get sick? You're fired!

03-26-2007, 08:57 PM
Is there a link anywhere to pictures of these places?
I'd like to see just how pre-packaged it all was.

03-27-2007, 09:37 PM
You asked...

While I was at Screamworks I took these photos of the attractions. I had talked to them about putting an ad in the magazine, and or promoting the attractions for sale. I took these photos of the attraction. I think I have more but I'd have to look...

I added comments to each one, and yes in some cases I had to tell you what I thought of certain things because some of the stuff was so dangerous I couldn't believe anyone would suggest doing it.

But you asked... so I uploaded 19 photos.



03-30-2007, 03:17 PM
Your facts are wrong Im sorry to say.
You are just putting more money in the developers pockets, nothing wrong with that but unions are a good thing, have you ever seen what happens when a Wal-mart moves to town? You can say its all B.S. but the damage and evidence is evident. Lets use for the sake of an arguement a locally owned union IGA store, they pay around 10 bucks an hour plus benefits, walmart comes to town a year later IGA shuts down and these employees are left with a 6.50 an hour job plus no benefits, your kids wont be eating steak that night......

Jim Warfield
03-30-2007, 09:54 PM
During the 1940's and 50's this small town was full of small viable businesses that supported their owners in a middle class fashion, making it possible to own your own house , own a nice car, support your family.
Then the bigger towns began seeing their chain stores moving out of the downtown ,building malls and sucking money away from smaller towns until most of the business people were forced to sell out and get jobs somewhere else.
Then Wal-Mart comes along and puts the malls out of business!
Maybe the UPS and Fedex man will eventually put Wal-mart out?
Probably not.

03-31-2007, 01:36 AM
What goes up must come down :D

Warren Vanderdark
03-31-2007, 11:11 AM
After taking a look at the pictures of the haunts for sale, their overall quality (and safety features, or should I say, lack thereof,) and taking in mind what they must have paid for them, to quote P.T. Barnum, "There's a sucker born every minute..."

Jim Warfield
03-31-2007, 11:36 AM
Photos of most haunts, taken by non-professional photogs never seem to look as good as they seem to be when they are in operation.
Maybe it's also an emotional thing? Actors, mood, lighting, the night all have to conspire to blow any real "life" into any pile of wood with paint on it...or maybe dim the lighting, zoom the video camera lense in and out rapidly..it's..it's..The House Of BEEF!

04-01-2012, 12:46 AM
to quote P.T. Barnum, "There's a sucker born every minute..."

Interestingly enough, Barnum never said that. One of his competitors said that of him when asked about Barnum's success. Just thought I'd mention it. :D

Are those pics still available? I'm seriously curious about this, as I had heard something about this in the past.

04-01-2012, 07:25 AM

Who knew a 5 year old thread would ever be brought back to life?


04-02-2012, 04:48 AM

Who knew a 5 year old thread would ever be brought back to life?


I'm usually not in the habit of resurrecting old threads, but the subject of pickel designed haunts had come up a number of times, and I had never seen one. While doing a Google search, I ran across this thread, and was curious about actually seeing what one looked like. I had once seen a floor plan, and was not in the least bit impressed, but I was wondering how it played out in real life.

Ergo, curious about the pics.

I wonder whatever became of those haunts now that it's been five years on.


04-02-2012, 07:33 AM

No problem! But have you ever actually heard of a god haunt designed by Pickle? I haven't.


04-02-2012, 01:24 PM

No problem! But have you ever actually heard of a god haunt designed by Pickle? I haven't.


Well, sure . . . from leonard. After all, he's the expert and that's all he does.

04-02-2012, 04:06 PM
From what I've heard Leonard's never run a successful haunt in all his 30 or so years, but he is always doing seminars to people wanting to get started in the biz. Sounds like the last guy to take advice from. I took in one of his "getting started in the industry" seminars a long time ago, some good info some not do good.

I think sometimes you just need to recognize the game has passed you by.


04-03-2012, 04:01 PM
From what I've heard Leonard's never run a successful haunt in all his 30 or so years, but he is always doing seminars to people wanting to get started in the biz. Sounds like the last guy to take advice from. I took in one of his "getting started in the industry" seminars a long time ago, some good info some not do good.

I think sometimes you just need to recognize the game has passed you by.


What was some of the good info and some of the not so good info?

04-03-2012, 08:32 PM
I took that seminar more than a decade ago I can barely remember last week. His basic common sense stuff was helpful, but his formulas were based on his own theories. It was probably the exact same seminare he did at transworld.


Greg Chrise
04-03-2012, 10:22 PM
It will take twenty years to figure out what is common sense, what is intended to make some kind of sale and what has been completely ommitted and scripted to sound good. And so there is more than a decade of everyone's ideas right here on Hauntworld. You just use the search function at the top of the page and you have your own personal seminar.

04-03-2012, 10:42 PM
It will take twenty years to figure out what is common sense, what is intended to make some kind of sale and what has been completely ommitted and scripted to sound good. And so there is more than a decade of everyone's ideas right here on Hauntworld. You just use the search function at the top of the page and you have your own personal seminar.

Word. Good call.