View Full Version : Top 20 Things that Influenced Your Haunted House???

01-17-2012, 05:09 AM
Okay so we are doing the article top 20 most influential haunted houses of all time... that will release in Hauntworld Magazine #30. I think you'll love the article... can you guess what #1 is? I bet you can!

Anyway we are planning another article... top 20 things that have influenced your haunted house such as a how to video, magazine, message boards, a certain haunter, a certain haunted house, an event like a tradeshow, a seminar, a person who speaks a lot at tradeshows, youtube, i don't know you tell me.

What has influenced you thinking of how to design a haunted house, how to market your haunted house, whatever however what has influenced your thinking?

You tell me!


Jim Warfield
01-17-2012, 07:27 AM
First the abandoned coal bin half underground beside my parent's house, then later expanding from there into the basement itself. As the five yr. old I couldn't lift the lid open & closed but my older neighbor "Mickey" Hartman could. He would lower it down, making it pitch black and tell us scary stories. Yes, as so many other haunters I did have a haunt in my Parent's basement too.
As a child of the 1950's I saw all the movies then featuring the monsters, Sci-Fy, ex cetra.
My cousin Anne was a horror comic collector. I would ask if I could look at her comics which were in my Grandmother's basement in turkey boxes?
My Grandmother would say yes, and then I would have to overcome my fears by first getting them from down there and then later again to return them down there. Her little basement was well lit but there was a mystry hole in the concrete floor that something could have been living in and attacked me from!
(It had been a small attempt at cold storage, there was a pulley on the ceiling there to raise and lower items to a further, deeper, cooler location.. or maybe it was a secret entrance to childhood HELL itself!!!)

Allen H
01-17-2012, 05:18 PM
1.Universal Studios monster movies,
2.Frank Frazetta's art work,
3.King Kong,
4.Be something studios Halloween masks (now Zagone),
5.My Mother tons of support)
6. Terror on Church st, (first year round haunt job)
7. Skull kingdom (pretty much grew up there)
8. Halloween Horror nights, (working there)
9. Fright Times magazine (Terror on Church st. was on the cover, I drove to FL the next month and applied)
10. The DFW Haunt community (I dare even say family, really good people to bitch about rain and the Rangers with)
11. Don Post masks
12. Pumpkinhead
13. D&D games (great brainstorming experience)
14. John Burton got to work with him at spooky world- very good guy and artist
15. spooky world Worked there when it was in Fox boro)
16. Haunted Overload (never seen their show, but ideas flood in every time they post a pic online)
17. Youtube- (amazing resource)
18. Haunt world pro haunt forums-(a great community and resource)
19. stilts and stilt walking
20. Fangoria Magazine (opened my eyes when I was younger)
I could most likely name 1,000 things all of these are definitely in the top 100 no matter what else I think of, and are in no particular order.
Allen H

01-17-2012, 06:57 PM
idk if it counts, but other haunts stepping the bar up.
places like House of Torment, Dead Acres, The Darkness, that push us all to stay ahead of the times and please our modern day audiences.

01-17-2012, 08:48 PM
1-I think every haunted house I've ever been to has helped me a lot. I take something from each and every one of them. Sometimes its what not to do....lol

2-When we were initially planning the Trail of Terror we wanted something completely different than what was around us, which was mainly hayrides, haunted houses and large venues like Haunted Happenings.

3-The Transworld Show really opened my eyes to what was available to the industry.

4- This forum has been a huge blessing for me and helped us reach new levels.


01-17-2012, 09:23 PM
1)The internet: I had not been to a haunted house since I was a kid until I saw photos from some on the internet about 13 years ago. Once I realized the level of detail, outside of major theme parks, that was going into haunted attractions it blew my mind. I had to do it.
2) Kevin McCurdy: Kevin's detailing and story telling via his attraction served as a real inspiration.
3) The OLD HauntWorld video tapes: Despite the fact the narrator tended to ramble quite a bit.;) I loved seeing all the footage from haunts across the country.
4) The works of H.P. Lovecraft: Just for keeping me creeped out.
5) Haunted Attraction Magazine: When I realized there was a magazine for haunted houses I was really fired up!
6) Scared Stiff magazine: Made me focus on the acting side of my attraction
7) Playing with Fear DVD: Yet another very inspiring video when it came to showing what could be done on the acting side of things.
I'm sure I'll think of more once I post this, but those are the few off the top of my head.

01-18-2012, 12:54 AM
I'm going to be honest here... you guys are naming things I never thought of. You've opened my eyes and we barely have that many posts.

Keep the coming. You are making my head spin.


01-18-2012, 07:48 AM
This forum has been a wealth of information and more importantly, resources.

The connections I was able to make through the MHC bus tour and the progression we've have had since that time, is another. Their staff is top notch.

As far as influential haunted houses....I have been able to take in a few and enjoyed them tremendously, however, one haunt stands out to me. Hundred Acres Manor in Pittsburgh. By no means do I intend to disrepect the other haunts I've attended (they were all great), but HAM treated me and my group like royalty when we went there. Ethan and his crew spent close to three hours with us, while they were in operation, behind the scenes. My team was able to crawl behind and under props and takes photos, notes, etc. A great deal of time was spent just comparing notes and exchanging information and I really gained an understanding about how you treat another haunt when they come to your place. I'm certain that other haunts treat industry insiders in a similar manner, Scarehouse was also very kind to us...either way, it had a definite impact on me and they way I run our show.

01-18-2012, 08:48 AM
13. D&D games (great brainstorming experience)

I as well.

01-18-2012, 10:10 AM
The haunt industry in general inspired me to start my own haunted attraction.....I wanted to since I was a young kid and I was born on October 13th, so October was always my favorite month and 13 has always been my lucky number......I would hide in different places in the house and jump and scare my parents and loved scary movies, but starting your own haunt seems (and is) a huge undertaking and seems out of reach. If it wasn't for the internet, the haunt forums, and mostly other haunters being so willing to share ideas and help I would have never thought that I could do it without some big production team and millions of dollars. In most businesses if you start inquiring about someone else's business they get defensive/scared and try to talk the competition away, but with the haunt community they talk you into it and help....Youtube tutorials and haunted how-to videos are great as well because you can go back and rewind and watch it over and over again instead of thinking back about a seminar and trying to remember. Video games also inspire me because the call of duty games that have been so popular have great set detail and the "attacking zombies" on the game is the reason zombies became so popular again. The more great tv shows like "The Walking Dead" and the more national and local publicity the horror genre gets, the more people get excited about halloween and haunted houses. A few years back churches frowned on haunted houses (some still do) but now youth and church groups are reserving group rates to go to them because they have turned into professional and safe environments. Non-horror movies like The Chronicles of Narnia, Pirates of the Carribean, Harry Potter, even where the wild things are inspire me because of the crazy make believe characters and also make the customers expect more than just a store bought mask to be your main characters. Dark rides like the haunted house at the Pavilion in Myrtle Beach, SC and the haunted mansion at Disney were also both influential and the side shows that come to the county fairs were also cool.....I always paid to see the "headless woman" the "5 legged goat" the "world's smallest woman" "woman with a snake body" etc. and this year at my haunt we had a "fiji mermaid side show". The part that I loved the most was the marketing and signs that made you want to go in there and then once you got in you may or may not be disappointed with the actual gaff. I could go on and on.....

01-18-2012, 03:02 PM
EVERY Haunted House - the good and the bad. Makes you want to reach their level and utilize their ideas, or make sure you never do what they do.

Conventions - not just the floor, but the networking with other haunters and sharing ideas with each other.

Kelly Allen - the man is a fountain of information, and a quote making machine. He has influenced how I run my haunted house, more then even he probably knows.

Scary Harry
01-18-2012, 03:20 PM
Here is one not many will know,Ron Brooks is one of the biggest influences for me. He was the orginatior of the Haunted Hayrides franchise in the late 80s. We bought in 1991.

01-21-2012, 07:40 AM
Just for the 2011 season for horror fields was

1. allen hopps with his youtube Wednesday, airbrush dvd, actor tranning dvd 1,2


3. them damn Canadians from haunt it yourself


01-21-2012, 05:55 PM
It's hard to pick 20 but after thinking about it, these are some of the things that influenced me in chronological order.

1. http://i92.photobucket.com/albums/l37/ericlowther/album-hauntedhouse.jpg...Really got my imagination going as a kid. Made me realize how important sound effects are to a haunt.

2. Jaycees Haunted Houses as a kid

3.Creature Double Feature ... a syndicated horror show, broadcast in the Boston (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boston) and Philadelphia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philadelphia) area during the 1970s and 1980s.

4. http://i92.photobucket.com/albums/l37/ericlowther/Alive.jpg Awesome effects, high energy exciting show! A fan since childhood.

5. http://i92.photobucket.com/albums/l37/ericlowther/610I4jb94hL_SS500_.jpg

6. Fangoria

7. US Army... Training, discipline, camouflage, sneaking up on people, catching the enemy off guard... very similar to designing scares.

8. Art school/ comics http://kubertschool.edu/

9. Original Spookyworld Berlin.

10.Tim Burton

11. Hauntworld.com

12. Terrorsyndicate http://terrorsyndicate.com/ (http://terrorsyndicate.com/) Monster Mud!

13. Hauntworld magazine/ videos

14. J.B Corn books http://www.nightmarepark.com/JBCorn CD.html (http://www.nightmarepark.com/JBCorn%20CD.html)

15. Transworld Chicago

16. Rich Hanf....first seminar

17. Ben Armstrong...most inspiring seminar

18. Larry Kirchner...good business advice

19. http://www.hauntbook.com/entrepreneur.html Kelly Allen

20. I've never been but Mike had a great seminar as well. Headless Horseman Haunted Hayride http://www.headlesshorseman.com/

01-22-2012, 04:49 PM
i would have to say all of the above,
movies seems like it is so hard to watch a movie any more because i am getting ideas from seens or sounds that set my mind wondering.
Hauntworld all though i hate to admit it.lol but all those cool conversations spark an idea then a drawing then hey here we go.
other haunted houses
vendors see this or that and think that would be cool but what if this was changed to this and that to that and it moved here instead of there.
Calhaunts a wealth of info and some of the best friends i have. even though not in cali anymore.
art work
the internet and you can not limit yourself to halloween or hanted house becuase goth and death rock and even doll sites it just gets crazy
web sites spark ideas galor
fantacy games are great! the only problem is i just never got into games
books, gosh you name it.
general conversation with my kids they will see a drawing and start saying "it would be so cool if this tree monster was right here or the wall was like driping or ozing a yuck puse.
customers they say what they like but when you listen to how they interpreted what they saw it is alot of times totaly dif than what i had thought of it as i was creating it.

01-23-2012, 09:43 AM
Going to haunted houses and hayrides as a kid.

horror movies in general good and bad

Most of all This Forum I've learned so much in just my short time here and for that Im so grateful for everyone here and all the help they provide!

01-23-2012, 07:44 PM
1) RESIDENT EVIL...die hard fan of the games since they started over a decade ago. Strong RE theme from start to finish through District of the Dead.

2) Growing up in Buffalo, NY where I went to each of the three excellent veteran haunts in the area, watching them grow over the years.

3) Starting my four year degree in Industrial/Creature/Set Design at Art Institute, ended up with a degree in Marketing!

4) 8 years of home haunting through high school and college. Fast forward another 3 years and a dream has become a reality. :D

01-30-2012, 04:18 AM

Yes I had that album myself. You are right about that one!

I just wrote the article on the top 20 most influential haunted houses of all time and now this article will go for Issue 31.

Keep posting!


01-30-2012, 09:29 PM
Living in the St. Louis area when I was younger I must say that alot of my influence was from The darkness and seeing Larry riding around in his vette as a young haunt owner. lol
Between The Darkness, (Larrys), Silox (soon to be Larrys lol) and the Lemp caverns (also now Larrys) lol this is where my inspirations came from.
I ran a home haunt for several years in the suburbs of STL. I moved to Columbia Mo. and opened Fearfest.
Larry, I thank you for giving me the faith that operating a pro haunt could be profitable and a satisfying experience.
You and the other haunt owners in St. Louis were more of an inspiration than you will ever know.
Thank you and have a successful 2012.