View Full Version : Floating torso question...

10-05-2006, 03:07 PM
Had a question. I am participating in a charity haunted house we've been doing for 3 years, and this year i'm not doing a room. I wanted to do something using a box raised on the side of the house about 6 ft. off the ground attatched to the house. I want to be able to open the box up, and all the spectators would see is the upper half of my body, my head, and my arms, along with a spine and some guts hanging out of the bottom. I still want to be able to move my arms, talk, and interact with people. I was just wondering how to achieve an illusion like this. I can build the box, and everything else costume wise. I actually saw something like this done at the Ripley's haunted house a while back...and loved it. Thought it would be entertaining while people waited in line. Any suggestions on how to do this?

Here is the picture i'm talking about.

10-05-2006, 07:57 PM
It's all done with smoke and mirrors.... minus the smoke! :)

10-05-2006, 08:09 PM
okay, well...i've looked at the picture closely, and you can see the board he is standing behind, but if that isn't the case, where would mirrors be placed to achieve the illusion?

10-05-2006, 08:17 PM
Two mirrors are placed on a 45-degree angle aiming outward toward the inside of the box. The skeletal torso section is placed directly in the middle where the two mirrors meet so as to hide the fact that the customers are actually looking into two mirrors. It's a very effective illusion but make sure that your lighting on the box doesn't give away the true effect.

10-05-2006, 08:19 PM
so, the two lines that look like a board is actually 2 mirrors?

10-05-2006, 08:25 PM
Let me explain a bit better....

In regard to the image file that you provided.... guests are looking into a three sided box. Extending from the two rear corners of the box are two mirrors of equal size that meet in the dead center of the box. The mirrors are aimed outward and reflect the sides of the box toward the guests making them think that they are looking into an empty box. Add the skeletal torso in the middle where the two mirrors meet and you have covered up the area where the joint meets. Add your actor behind the mirror along with any extra costuming and you have achieved the effect! It's a very simple effect actually, but very effective nonetheless. I am planning on marketing several versions of this effect for the 2007 season along with a few dozen other magical illusions that can be utilized in haunted attractions.

10-05-2006, 08:36 PM
Okay. I appreciate the info. I was thinking it could be done with a board painted the same way as the rest of the box, with the actor behind it. Can it be done this way? or mirrors is the only way?

Jim Warfield
10-06-2006, 12:17 AM
Dim lighting can hide alot of imperfections seen by the light of day.

10-06-2006, 12:23 AM
You need the mirror for the depth. You can get cheap mirror from a Lowe's or whatever and it will work fine. It is a realtivly affordable and effective prop.....

Also note that there is a pattern on the walls of the chair that can be set up with that 45-degree angle in them. With a flat color or the wrong angle it doesn't work as well. you also need to be very aware of where you light this effect. If the mirror catches more light than the wall of the chair you are reflecting it hurts the illiusion. But overall this is a very effective scare. Especially if the actor can really play it up.... Oh... and one thing we didn't think about on the first one we did. Pay attention to WHO will go into that chair. If you don't you can make a very small space... too tight for most people....

Jim Warfield
10-06-2006, 07:40 AM
This effect can also be accomplished like the video I saw, just hire someone who has no lower body. This was quite efective when the phoney lower body is left behind and the woman crawled away pretending to have just been freshly cut in half!

10-06-2006, 08:10 AM
He finding some one the slim side and then adding some padding up top could actually make it even more real!

10-07-2006, 06:39 PM
Another thing that you must also take into consideration is the thickness of the mirrors. They should be at least 1/4-inch thick (no thinner!!!) and mount them on at least a 1/4-inch thick board for strength. You don't want your actor leaning forward and have everything break apart. Then, you will REALLY have a bloody mess on your hands! :shock:

Jim Warfield
10-08-2006, 01:31 AM
And if your actor is only 1/4 inch thick, mount a board to him too!
(He would almost be the invisible man from the sideways glance position.)

10-08-2006, 08:04 AM
yeah, we're using 1/2 in. BC plywood and 2x4's to build everything...so it's definitely not going to break. lol I do have a question though. Where can I purchase some guts to hang out of the torso at the bottom? Nightmare Factory has them on backorder...so who else sells some?

John Coen
10-08-2006, 10:56 AM
Buy a can of great Stuff at Lowes and some red acrylic paint (gloss). Spray and dry and paint and scare.

10-08-2006, 11:59 AM
yeah, thought about that, but I may take and put some brown and black on em too. But, is there any way to make them flexible? So that they are more realistic?

10-11-2006, 09:15 PM
Okay, almost done building this, and it's turning out incredible. Thanks for all the help, and i'll post some pictures of it when i'm done. We're gonna finish tomorrow. Should have some pictures up next week. All I have left are the doors, and the two mirrors. Definitely going to be a hit this year. I'm also working on a room, that i'm putting an actor in, and i'll post some pics/video of that also. I'll keep ya'll updated. Thanks again for the help.